On Tuesday, Jan. 19, the Barnum School District will return to in-person and hybrid instruction, following recent approval of a new learning plan by the COVID-19 Regional Planning Team, Minnesota Department of Education and Minnesota Department of Health.

The plan allows for the return of students to the classroom through both in-person and hybrid learning models.

According to a letter sent to school district parents and staff by Barnum School District Superintendent Michael McNulty, students will be categorized into a high school group and an elementary group. The elementary group will attend class in person Monday through Friday.

The high school group will attend classes in person on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. They will learn remotely on Wednesday.

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Students who have chosen distance learning as their full-time learning modality will be permitted to continue with this model, per the orders of Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz.

Bus routes will be operational, and students who participate in full-time distance learning will be offered a meal pick-up option through the district.

McNulty said the decision to have high school students learn remotely on Wednesdays was made to give teachers time to catch up due to the fact they are providing instruction to students who will remain in distance learning, as well as those who will return in-person.

McNulty added that while the elementary school has three teachers designated to instruct only those participating in full-time distance learning, the high school does not have enough staff to allow for adequate instruction using that model.

This difference in instruction led to the implementation of the different learning plans for elementary and high school students.

According to a letter sent by Barnum Elementary School principal Judi Vitito, masks are required to be worn indoors at all times, including during gym classes. Staff will be provided with the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 test every two weeks.

“It's fantastic," McNulty said regarding the return of students, adding that full-time distance learning has not been optimal for most households.

McNulty said he hopes to maintain this model for a longer period of time than in the past and asks that students be screened at home prior to attending classes each day, using the screening standards set by MDH.